tv BBC World News BBC America February 2, 2015 10:00am-11:01am EST
hello. you're watching "gmt" on bbc "world news." i'm lucy hockings. our top stories. we report from inside kobani. kurdish forces have won it back from islamic state militants, but these ruins are what is left of the city. >> driving the islamic state from here came at tremendous cost. hundreds of coalition air strikes, which have flattened most of the town. after 400 days in a cairo prison, peter greste's body say he won't rest until his two egyptian colleagues are freed as well. and we've been soaking up
the atmosphere of one of the most exciting super bowls in history, and finding out just how important it is to america. >> it's the first of my firstborn child and then there's the super bowl. >> aaron can look at what's a very taxing time for some global businesses. >> absolutely, lucy. president obama is eyeing up trillions of dollars of profits that have been stashed overseas by u.s. companies, so they can avoid paying america's corporation tax. but, boy, the president has other ideas. he now wants to use some of those pluses to rebuild the country's infrastructure. it's 12:00 here in london 7:00 a.m. in washington and 2:00 p.m. in kobani a city the world has watched for four months from afar as a battle
was launched between i.s. the city is devastated empty, and in ruins. allied forces have launched nearly 2,000 air strikes against isis. both circles, you can see there, represent those air strikes. as you can see, they're mostly focused on kobani and also east of mosul and iraq. but iz still dominated sways of land. the red areas show where the militants have control and influence, and some estimate at least 40,000 square kilometers. a bbc team including our correspondent, qinton summerville have been to kobani and found the city has been torn apart. >> reporter: every street every inch of kobani is testament to the apocalypse that the islamic state brought here. for four months they faced each other, sometimes just yards
apart, and there are still plenty of dangers here. unexploded mortars, booby traps but i.s. is gone. those left standing have trophies from the fight. these men say, i.s. used car bombs packed with explosives to target our checkpoints. they're reeling. their victory came unexpectedly. the outcome is a shock. the islamic state here at least, has been beaten. most of its people fled kobani. those who stayed draped curtains across the road to hide out of sight from i.s. snipers. i met one of the families who re refusedre refused to leave. kasima and her 12 kirn and grandchild stayed throughout the worst of the fighting.
>> we faced difficulties. we were hungry we were thirsty, but we are no different from the fighters. they stayed and we stayed. we were in the basement. when they had food, they shared it with us. it was hard but thank god we knew we would win. >> those who haven't seen the evil that took place here will see it now. kurdish officials didn't abandon us. we are going to school now and we are very happy, because we will be able to go back to our villages. they liberated our lands. >> reporter: in the ruins, i. fighters left behind messages this one from a sniper makes a promise to the town of bloodshed, beheadings, and destruction. kobani is now at peace. the streets, or what's left of them are now silent. but driving the islamic state from here came at a tremendous cost. hundreds of coalition air
strikes, which have flattened most of the town. and the islamic state didn't go far, less than five miles from here. so while kobani has been liberated, the fight against the militants goes on. we headed east closer to the front lines. here, the kurdish fighters are young, but still the fight against islamic state. >> the town has been liberated. it's a big victory. but the bigger win will be to free all of the villages around kobani. we will never allow a single isis fighter to survive in kobani. >> reporter: in the war against the islamic state, the battle for kobani will be remembered. these streets tell that with foreign help i.s. can be defeated. but only at great sacrifice. >> well quenton has now left
kobani and made his way to the turkish side of the border and we can talk to him now. quenton, incredible pictures there from inside kobani but 100,000 people left the city. is there any talk of rebuilding of them returning? >> reporter: they're not going to be returning anytime soon because as you saw in that report the devastation, particularly in the east of kobani is astonishing. it's almost total. the eastern side where isis were really and islamic state were really embedding, has been flattened by coalition air strikes and those relentless battles between the islamic state and kurdish fighters. the west of the town isn't so badly damaged, but there isn't sanitation there isn't electricity, there isn't heating or lighting all the things that people need. it's one thing to bear in mind though, that the battle for kobani, the reason it will be remembered, is because this was a line in the sand.
america and the coalition air decided kobani was important. and not because of any strategic reasons, it was an important thing militarily but because the islamic state decided it was important. they did everything they had to try to defeat kobani and they failed. >> given that quentin. given how symbolic it is and the fact that the world has watched this battle for four months now, what has the victory done for morale against kurdish fighters? >> they were pretty happy when we were there. but they weren't running around with joy, because they know they've still got a fight ahead of them. if you go 5, 10 miles beyond the east or the west of kobani the fighting still going on. when we were arriving we had a number of booms. those were our coalition air
strikes. bombing those positions, we believe. and when we left seven, eight hours left we have more. so the fighting really is still going on there, but there's a vigor, i think, if you like about the fighters in kobani. they've shown the mettle of the cause and shown what's possible really, to the rest of iraq and syria, to the people battling the islamic state. that if an international effort can be properly coordinated with a ground effort and with the determination of supplies local forces they be the islamic state can be pushed back. >> so they do feel they're getting the international support they need? >> they certainly feel that they've had it. you see, kobani was in ruins. but i didn't hear a single complaint from anyone inside about the devastation. because that relentless
onslaught combined with the ground forces is what pushed the islamic state into retreat and out of kobani. >> quentin, great to see you. thanks so much for joining us on the turkey side of the border. quentin somerville who has been inside kobani. other news now. the japanese prime minister shinzo abe, has been arguing for a change in the constitution to expand the role of the military. mr. abe says the military should be allowed to rescue japanese citizens in danger abroad. he made these comments a day after islamic state militants killed japanese hostage, kenji goto. the south korean heiress who had a tantrum over the way nuts were served is on a flight had been likened to a wild beast by one of her victims. cho hyun-ah faces ten years in prison if found guilty of diverting a flight for no good
reason. litvinenko died in 2006 after drinking tea laced with radioactive polonium-210 after meeting two russian men at a london hotel. the release and deportation of of egypt by the al jazeera journalist, peter greste a former bbc correspondent, has brought relief and delight. but there is still concern for his two colleagues who remain in prison in egypt after being sentenced between seven and ten charge s years, on charges of reporting and aiding a terrorist organization. >> reporter: eagerly awaiting his return home peter greste's family were in brisbane were delighted with his release after he languished in a jail.
>> it is indeed a good morning. >> i'm ecstatic. i just can't say how happy i am about it all. i'm very excited and pleased and thank goodness this is all over. >> reporter: without the international pressure they and others helped generate, it probably would not have happened. >> i was speaking with him recently, and peter personally wanted to thank all the people who have supported him, who have given time money, energy, in seeking his freedom. at the al jazeera headquarters there was also a surge of relief that peter greste was freed, but it was tempered the with concern for his two colleagues and fellow prisoners who remain behind bars in egypt. >> i feel relief that peter is out of prison but at the same time we still demand the
release of the other two journalists, mohammaded fahmy and baher mohamed. and other journalists who have been sentenced for ten years each on charges that the egyptian court found unworthy. >> all three men were given sentences of up to ten years, accused of fabricating fuse and helping a terrorist organization. they insist they were just doing their job as journalists. mohamed fahmy, al jazeera english's cairo bureau chief has canadian nationality as well as egyptian. it's widely expected he'll also be freed and deported to canada in the coming days although there is some confusion over a move to drop his egyptian citizenship as part of that process. but the future of baher mohamed, the producer, looks much less rosy. he has only egyptian nationality. his wife fears that once the other two are freed, international pressure for his release will die away, leaving
him to face his ten-year sentence. his best hope may be the retrial the court ordered last month. but al jazeera says they'll continue to maintain for baher mohamed and mohamed fahmy and peter greste has told his family he will do. >> there's no doubt he'll devote some of his time and energy to that cause. and i think, straight up he's not going to forget his two other colleagues. there's no doubt that his excitement is tempered and restrained and will be until they're free. so we won't give up until they're out of there. >> reporter: the fight of international journalists behind bars has highlighted concerns about human rights in egypt. about 21 other journalists are in jail as well as thousands of political dissidents and activists, as the authorities pursue a harsh crackdown on what they call terrorists.
>> in the past three hours, we have heard that a court has confirmed death sentences against 183 men convicted of killing 13 police officers in a town near cairo 18 months ago. these killings happened in kerdassa, a town known for its sympathies for the muslim brotherhood, during the upheaval that followed the army's ouster of mohamed morsi. remember, he was the islamist president. in december, the courts had issued its preliminary verdict after a mass trial of the defendants. we can take you over to akram who joins me from cairo. can we start with the release of peter greste? delight, the world over about this, but still huge concern about the fact that mohamed fahmy and baher mohamed are still locked up. has there been any word about any progress on what could happen to these two men? >> yes, indeed.
now that peter greste's case is almost certain. all eyes are on baher mohamed and mohamed fahmy, the other two egyptians that were accused and sentenced in this case. for mohamed fahmy, who has a canadian nationality, it was rumored yesterday that was in the process of revoking his egyptian nationality, so we can benefit from the law under which peter greste was released and deported. even though this was denied today, for baher mohamed, who has been sentence ed tod to ten years in prison he has only egyptian nationality, and there were a lot of calls, even from pro-government journalists today on local and private television for him to be one way or another. because they say it doesn't
serve the regime it doesn't do anyone any good. because it looks as if he'll -- he's being punished just for being an egyptian and the beneficiaries of the law would be the foreigners which would send the very wrong message to the people here. so something is expected to be done about him, but how soon we don't -- we're not sure. we know that there will be a retrial in the case and there could be a presidential pardon but this has to be done after a final verdict is issued against them and this would be the retrial. for mowhammaded fahmy, we are still waiting to talk to his family with regard to whether he will go on with the reporting of an egyptian nationality or wait for the retrial. >> we just want you to bring us up to date with this news in the
past few hours or so. 183 men, we understand have been given the death sentence. will they appeal and what's the bigger story behind what's happened in court today? >> this is yet another high-profile death penalty case in egypt. 188 people were sentenced to death this morning by a judge, who has a reputation for handing harsh sentences in political cases. he is the same judge who sentenced an al jazeera journalist to the jail term they have been serving. and the case date back to around the time of the defendants are accused of storming and attacking the police station of kerdassa, and kerdassa is a
center of islam militancy. they attacked the police station and killed 12 police officers including the chief police and his deputy. and then it was widely reported in the media at the time that their bodies have been mutilated as well. this was one of the most brutal attacks against the police around that time. and now they have -- >> akram, i'm afraid -- i'm sorry to interrupt you. we have to leave it there. thank you for joining us from cairo. stay with us here on "bbc world news." still to come, we'll take you live to paris to get the latest on dominique strauss-kahn once set to become the french president, he said now on trial, accused of helping to procure women for sex parties.
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the former head of the international monetary fund dominique strauss-kahn, is going on trial today, accused of helping to procure women for sex parties. the prosecution alleges mr. strauss-kahn was at the heart of the prostitution ring centered around a hotel. mr. strauss-kahn, one of 14 defendants in the trial, denies the charges. from paris is lucy williamson and we can talk to her now. lucy, tell us more about the trial. >> well, the charge he faces covers quite a wide range of accusations, and dominique strauss-kahn is accused of having an organizational role many this so-called prostitution ring, of knowing the women he met were prostitutes, and of aiding or encouraging their procurement. so he's facing the trial really being painted as the kingpin of this network. and as you said he denies those charges and said he took part in these parties as a con sensensual
adult and nothing more. >> how is this being seen in france? >> the private lives and public lives of their public figures are kept very separate but there has been a lot of interest in the details that may come out about this case and what it says about the way dominique strauss-kahn may run his private life. but having said that, there was a poll done several days ago that suggests that division may still be in place. there was a majority of the french responders to that poll. so they had a bad opinion of dominique strauss-kahn, and almost 80% of them said he would have made a better president than the president france has now. >> we have live pictures coming to us now from outside the courthouse. and there is a huge amount of media presence. actually, quite a scrum there. we'll have so leave it there. thanks very much for joining us
from paris. now let's take you to the united states, where the new england patriots are celebrating this morning, after winning the super bowl in dramatic style. they beat the seattle seahawks, 28-24. now, for those of you that don't follow american football the super bowl is the climax of the nfl season and in the u.s. well, it's massive. we went along to find out what just about the super bowl that is so american. >> so we just left tucson arizona, and are headed to tacoma, washington where we'll be throughout february making documentaries as a part of bbc pop-ups. >> we have stopped off in the capital of arizona, which is phoenix, a very foggy day. and there's some kind of sporting event going on. >> dude it's the super bowl man. we're in glendale arizona. do you have any idea what the super bowl means to americans? >> i kind of know what it means.
i know that they use a rubber ball and drink beer in the back of the cars. >> this is what it's like with life on the road with a brit. i don't even -- >> this is the game. this is business! >> it's pretty important. there's christmas, there's the birth of my firstborn child, and then there's the super bowl with the pats winning it all. >> the government should give off super bowl monday and make it a national holiday. >> are you kidding? look at it! quintessential america. it represents all that is fun and good and happy and competitive. we're competitive. >> we're pats fans. this game is over at halftime. >> go hawks!
>> time to eat lots of food drink lots of drinks and celebrate with all your friends and family. >> spend time with family and friends. >> when we were young, it was the guys getting really drunk and watching the game but now it's about family. >> we had family that flew down from washington. i, myself drove out from california. we have some that flew out from tennessee. it's a family reunion for some and for others it's just a fan fest. >> a beautiful celebration of having fun, having a sport that's being played honestly without deflated footballs. >> so exciting if you watched it. i'm sure you were jumping up and down. do stay with us. coming up in the next half hour on "gmt," the latest on ukraine's crisis. the death toll in eastern ukraine is continuing to grow.
we'll speak to a journalist who has just visited the strategic town of dewith intense fighting between rebels and the government. i've been called a control freak... i like to think of myself as more of a control... enthusiast. mmm, a perfect 177-degrees. and that's why this road warrior rents from national. i can bypass the counter and go straight to my car.
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i'm lucy hockings. in this half hour we'll bring you the latest on the escalating crisis in eastern ukraine. fighting in government forces and russian-backed rebels intensify, so too, does the humanitarian crisis as thousands of desperate people are caught up in the cross fire. and the legacy of the meghna carta. why it means so much. aaron is back and it's all about greasing the wheels of a massive debt aaron. >> see what you did there, lucy.
it's a european charm offensive by this bloke right here greece's new finance minister who's been hopping all over europe to convince leader that something has to budge on greece's massive debt mountain. as you can see, he is in london but we'll go live to find out what the germans think about the new greek government's plans to spend, spend, spend. welcome back to "gmt." ukraine's crisis seems to be spiraling ever-more out of control, as the death control continues to grow talks between ukraine, russia and the rebel factions draw a blank. and since then the fighting has escalated. now the leader of the self-proclaimed donetsk's people republic says he plans a global mobilization, which will see
100,000 men called up to fight. it comes amid warnings by russian-backed separatists of an all- all-out offensive against ukraine's forces. it's a small town of debaltseve but how much longer is reported almost entirely encircled by russian-backed rebels. it's a strategic whale hub as well, which connects the two main rebel strongholds of luhansk and donetsk. let's talk now to journalist christopher, he was in debaltseve on saturday and joins us now on the line. christopher, what's it like in debaltseve? >> reporter: so debaltseve it's a -- it's powerful when we're stuck there, with thousands of people holed up in basements of residential buildings, in city hall buildings. some 8,000 ukrainian soldiers are based on the city on the
outskirts of town. and they're trading fire with thousands of rebel forces in town and create a sort of ring of fire raining down shells almost nonstop, all day long for the past week. >> people are absolutely terrified there. are they able to leave? >> reporter: some people have been able to get out through government-arranged services who draw in two or three buses each day for the last five oarr six days. but it's not enough to evacuate everyone in the town. this is a town with a population of 20,000 and several thousand are still left and hunkered down in the basement, with very very few supplies and only one route out. the only road out of town is a precarious 40-kilometer journey west and rockets are constantly
bombarding the ukraine positions along the road. so even just getting out of town is risk your life. the most vulnerable people remain in the town. 100 children and people. these people have been harder to evacuate because of their inability. and they're trying to send in more buses, but with the constant shelling it's very difficult. >> christopher miller, good to talk to you. we do apologize for the quality of the line. very difficult to get good phone lines out of eastern ukraine. but christopher miller thank you for joining us with that. time for business. aaron is here. what a job the greece finance
minister has. >> we just had some comments from the british finance minister, george osborn who's been meeting with the new finance minister. but he says the standoff between the euro zone in greece is fast becoming the biggest risk to the global economy. thanks very much lucy. hello, the new greece finance minister this guy right here has been in london today, talking with the uk treasury minister george osborn. he's visiting. it is a charm offensive. he's all over europe at the moment visiting european countries to try to explain the plans of the new greek government, the syriza party, for why he has a huge debt mountain. question is who does greece owe that debt to? imagine all these screens here represent the $365 billion that
greece has borrowed. according to open europe a whopping 60% of that debt is owned by the euro zone. in a nutshell we're talking about billions of european taxpayers taxpayers' money. loans from eurozone to greece. the international monetary fund is the next biggest creditor and is on the hook for 10%. the ecb is also owed a large chunk of change 6% of greece's debt. and finally, greek banks, including the greek national bank, they make up 5% of holdings of greece's pursestrings. and the final 18% of the country's debt is held in a mixture of other bonds and loans. some of you mathematicians go that's only 99%. some of these numbers have been rounded down just slightly. so we're going to be keeping
across all of this for you and these meetings by the greece finance minister. he's off to germany at the end of the week. he's a very busy man. let's go live to berlin and speak to arla fisher the chief executive of the berlin stock exchange. arthur, great to have you on the program. i want to ask you this. you're sitting in germany, you have the feel and pulse of the german people. what do the germans think about the new greek government party, the syriza party, and all its plans. all those election plans to spend, spend, and spend some more? >> well actually at the moment in germany, it's seen with some interest but doesn't really make the big headlines here. we're still waiting to understand the big picture.
obviously, the new, very left-wing party comes to completely different ideas on how to handle the economy and how to kick-start it. and it's already clear at least two things will happen on one end. consumption should be kick-started by government spending in the past. that kind of thing never really does work but let's see. and on the other hand, i believe the greek government will ask the european central bank to buy greek sovereign bonds and in doing that they can create additional money. i don't think that will fly. i believe at that point in time if that becomes clear, the german government and the german government will say, no that's something we're not going to do. >> we just saw a big chunk of that 60% of money that's owed by greece to the euros, a big chunk sits there where you are in germany. but i want to ask you this the greece finance minister he's already saying to various
leaders that you should treat greece already as a bankrupt country. we don't want anymore bailout money. we just want to renegotiate. it's hard to go through greece without getting the next chunk of bailout money, isn't it? >> that's exactly why i think the strategy really is to use -- to create national banks, backed up by the european central bank. if the greek government doesn't want to have anymore bailout moneys, they need to fund all the good things they're giving to the people at the moment. the one employs 300,000 people artificially. the money for the pensions the money for those salaries have to come from somewhere. and the only place i can see is coming from the national central bank backed by the european central bank if there's nobody out there who gives them money like the current they're getting. >> and arthur i think you've also been previously set on
other media that. you know, the euro zone is in a much better position today to handle the possibility of a greek exit. of greece leaving the euro zone. is that still the case? what are the chances? >> well first of all, nobody wants a greek government to leave the euro zone and the greek government has said they want to stay in. so we are talking about something nobody really wants. but if it would happen i believe he's done very much homework over the last two years. our banking system has now been stabilized. we can't afford the single banks to go bankrupt without endangering the whole system. we already have a plan in place from the european central bank to spend $60 billion a month on buying government bonds. and by doing so the interest rates of spain and portugal and italy will not go through the roof as a few years ago. so we are in a complete different scenario. 11 million people living increase, that's less than people live in london.
and i believe, in the worst-case scenario, greek would leave the euro it would not cause the kind of problem it would have caused a few years ago. >> okay. well arthur we're going to leave it there. we appreciate your time and we'll speak to you again some time i'm sure. thank you very much, arthur fisher joining us life from berlin. let's talk about this man, u.s. president barack obama, he plans to close a tax loophole that allows u.s. companies to avoid paying taxes on overseas profits, this is according to the white house. his 2016 budget will be presented today, monday, that aims to impose a 14% tax on u.s. profits that have kind of been stashed overseas as well as a 19% tax on any future profits, as their own. now, currently, no tax is due on foreign profits, as long as they stay out of the country and are not brought back in to the u.s. research from ordered analytics calculated last april that u.s. forms have it's an eye-watering
figure, $2.1 trillion, worth of profits stashed abroad. general electric has the most overseas. it's sitting on about $110 billion, while the likes of microsoft, apple, and pfizer they all came in in the top five. the administration aims to spend close to $240 billion they would raise, they plan to spend that on road and other transport projects in the united states. let's talk to gamal ahmed who joins us from our business unit. always good to have you with us as well. now, if this is part -- and that's another question, something we can talk about in a minute. but we're hearing that this 14% would be an immediate taxation but is this feasible? is the u.s. government allowed to do this? well, i don't think whether it's allowed to. obviously, if the legislation is passed, the tax rules will change, and these companies that you have mentioned, like apple, like general electric like facebook, will have to pay the taxes as legislated for.
the issue is though is that governments from around the world, whether it's america, whether it's governments in the european union, whether it's government in asia are all looking at how on earth can, when it comes to technology companies in particular and pharmaceutical companies, how can we ensure that the tax take from those businesses is wlas seen as fair because these companies at the moment are moving huge amount of tax profits around the world, into low-tax jurisdictions. there are defensive courses that the tax rules, we don't set the tax rules, politicians set the tax rules, they want us to come and locate in their country by being very benign on tax. and therefore, when we use it what happens to that tax take? and that is what president obama is attempting to do. as you say, aaron, whether or not he actually gets there, given that republicans control congress, and there has been gridlock and debate on this type
of issue for years, the ecb is looking at it the european union is looking at it the american government now is looking at it but results there have been none as yet. >> and of course it kind of feeds into this global view at the moment of the haves and have-nots. but it really does need to be a global coordination. but can you make it clear to us when we're talking about general electric or apple, we're talking about the profits they make in the u.s. these are profits these companies make around the world and then move them to these other countries. >> in america, the corporation tax rate is 35%. very high in comparison to other global centers. the companies, like apple, say that with those very high rates in america, they are incentivized not to repatriate money back to the united states. they are incentivized to keep that money offshore. their shareholders almost demand
it, as part of good governance and good tax planning for that business. and what president obama is offering here is a bit of carrot with a lot of stick if the 19% rate on foreign profits, is clearly well below the 35% rate of corporation tax within the u.s. so companies like gec and apple could be encouraged to move that money back because of that lower rate and how does that compare to what rates they could get in other parts of the world? but it all comes back the central issue is how do we have tax systems which are nationally based, controlling global corporations, that operate around the world. that's the issue that politicians are grappling with. they've been grappling with it for years, and they may not be much more close to a solution. >> talk to you soon. khalil ahmed, our bbc business editor.
i'm lucy hockings. thanks for being with us. our top stories this hour. a bbc team has documented the high cost of driving islamic state militants out of the syrian town of kobani. the family of the al jazeera journalist peter greste who has been freed from an egyptian jail says he won't rest until his two colleagues have also been released. the document known as the meghna caragna carta is 800 years old, but its significance is still
huge. it was created in london in the year 1215 and laid out the principle that no man was above the law, not even the king. it gave everybody the right to a fair trial and said that no man should be imprisoned without the lawful judgment of his equals. well, today the four surviving copies of the magna carta have been brought together for the very first time at the british library in london. joining me now, librarian of congress in washington, who has been to see the four copies. what was that like dadevid? >> it's amazing to see four copies of documents that have been around the for 800 years and still have so much significance today. >> why is the magna carta significant for america? >> it relates long history, specifically because of our close relationship with the united kingdom and our heritage from the colonies. it shows that over 800 years, we have those rights and they're importanting to our founding fathers.
>> which right are we looking at? >> from our constitution our bill of rights we trace back to as you had mentioned earlier, the right to a jury trial. the right to not be taxed without any agreement by the people, the right to due process of law. these are inherent rights we trace back to the magna carta. >> i read one of the custodians of one of the magna cartas said when there's an attack of the rule of law, he realized how right the magna carta is. >> that's one of the reasons why at the library of congress, we recently closed an exhibition. we have the lincoln 1215 magna carta at the library of congress for ten weeks. and one of our hopes not only to show the connection to our american founding fathers and how they developed the principles the that rule our country today, but also be a beacon for emerging the democracy, to show them the importance of this document and
carry forth with the younger generation. >> you mentioned the younger generation. is this something that children study at school in america? >> it is. it's very very important. over the ten-week period we had over 112,000 people see our exhibition, many of them children, and we're hoping that message resonates with them. >> and you must be interested in the preservation of these documents, 800 years old. what is done to make sure that in 800 years' time we can still see the magna carta? >> certainly very important to have temperature, humidity controlled and we had a special case magna carta, and it's very very important we maintain that. over the years, there have been some preservation techniques, some not so successful, and we know and understand documents and materials and chemistry now better. we hope that we can preserve it for another 800 years. >> and i'm guessing security must have been pretty tight as well. >> very, very tight and very very well controlled and lucky to say we were able to send it
back with no problems. >> and would it be do you think, possible for the magna carta to travel again to america? do you think that's something people would be able to gain something meaningful from? >> i think it would be. we have 112,000 peemt just in washington, d.c. and america's a big country. i think if magna carta made its way to other places many other people would see it as well. >> lovely to have you with us. we're talking about old documents. we have up with for you now that you'd be very interested in as a librarian, because we're going to stay with the subject of historic documents and look at the science breakthrough that could be made possible to read papers from the only library made to have known survived from ancient rome. scientists if france have found a way to peer inside the charred scrolls, seeing letters and words for the first time in 2,000 years.
>> reporter: it may look like a charred stump, but, in fact, it's a book. a papyrus scroll. since they were discovered they have defied every attempt to read them. unravel them, and they fall apart, leaving just fragments. but now, there's been a breakthrough. it happened here where they generate ultraintense beams of photons, the stuff that makes up light. >> it's more of the same. >> reporter: watching how the beams behaved after passing through the papyrus, they were able to detect traces of ink. >> a small difference in the carbon, which means we have small differences between that. and through the phenomenon called refraction, we can see the very tiny differences in the position of the line.
and that makes the difference. >> reporter: putting all the cross sections through a computer, they analyzed all the many layers inside the rolled up scroll and what they found at the end was uncontrovertible. this is ultramodern sign comes to the aid of literature in the most extraordinarily exciting way. this is the inside of one of those burnt out scrolls, and here for the first time in nearly 2,000 years, we can read the letters. >> for papyrologists, it's groundbreaking. it means the herculean scrolls could now begin to give up their secrets. it's been opened, that's what's important. for me and my colleagues, joy is tremendous, that's why i can't really express it, it's too big. there are some things you just can't put into words. but, of course, we also need to keep our feet on the ground if
we're to do more good work. there are years of work ahead, but there's now every reason to hope we shall be able to read once again these books of ancient rome. hugh schofield, bbc news paris. let's take you back now to the french city of leal because the trial of dominique strauss-kahn, the former head of the international monetary fund is about to get underway. now, he is accused of helping to procure women for sex parties. he has denied these charges. you can see the media scrum there outside the court. while mr. strauss-kahn has arrived, apparently, he is inside, and he is pacing up and down the courtroom with his hands in his pockets. we'll keep you updated on that trial. but for now, let's join philippa to find out what's coming up on "impact." >> in just a few minutes, i've been looking at the situation in ukraine, where a top separatist
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